BACKGROUND β-Thalassemias are characterized by the presence of mutations in the globin gene that result in the absence or reduced synthesis of β-globin chains of the hemoglobin tetramer. Several studies have reported increased oxidative stress in β-thalassemia major (β-TM) patients. N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a derivative of L-cysteine amino acid, is commonly used as a mucolytic drug. Numerous studies have reported efficient
antioxidant activity of NAC. PURPOSE To evaluate the effects of NAC on oxidative stress status and hemoglobin levels in children with β-TM. METHODS This study was conducted between June and December 2019. One hundred β-TM patients were divided into two groups: 50 received NAC 10 mg/kg orally for 3 months (treatment group), while the other 50 received no treatment (non-treatment group). Total oxidant status (TOS), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), oxidative stress index (OSI), and hemoglobin (Hb) and ferritin levels were measured and compared between groups. RESULTS At the end of the study period, Hb and TAC levels were significantly higher in the treatment group than in the non-treatment group (P < .001 and .01, respectively). On the other hand, serum ferritin levels, TOS, and OSI were significantly lower (P = .004, .01, and .001, respectively) in the treatment group. CONCLUSION NAC can effectively reduce the oxidative status and increase the pre-transfusion Hb levels in children with β-TM. Furthermore, NAC could reduce iron overload in these patients.